With prices escalating, living on a fixed income in retirement is a challenge. Many establishments offer discounts to anyone 50 or older, so all baby boomers should ask for a senior discount. Saving money is a game, and you can be the victor. The strategy? Never pay retail. The following tips can, when used together, add up to significant savings.
1. AARP Discounts
AARP opens the door to a world of discounts to those 50 and over for an annual membership fee of $16. All baby boomers qualify for membership in 2014.
Find and compare no-fee checking accounts for seniors at nerdwallet.com. Use ATMs at your bank whenever possible to avoid an ATM fee. Some banks even refund third-party ATM fees.
Seniorark.com is an excellent site for helping baby boomers save money. One suggestion is to investigate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) — even if you think you might not qualify, it’s worth a try. Invest in a programmable thermostat and set the temperature according to the time of day. At night, you can lower the heat and stay warm with extra blankets and comforters. Dress for the weather, not the calendar. Use ceiling fans to save on air conditioning. Only run full loads of dishes and clothes, and lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees F.
4. Cable and Satellite
The “triple play” option (phone, TV, Internet) is cheaper than the “double play” option (two services). After the teaser rate expires, call and insist that you’ll switch to another service. They will lower the bill substantially, especially if you say you’re living on a fixed income. Order only premium services you know you will use, or check with freepreview.tv for free premium viewing times.
5. Cell Phones
You can get all the bells and whistles based on what you need, not what the big names want to sell you, with no-contract plans. PCmag.com compares a variety of plans.
6. Property Taxes
Some municipalities allow seniors to lock in property taxes for life. Check with your county tax assessor to see if you qualify. A locked-in rate saves baby boomers thousands of dollars.
Most large grocery stores offer a senior discount day each week or month. Use coupons and couple them with sales on “senior day.” Avoid the endcaps (fancy end-of-aisle displays), and instead shop the perimeter of the store for fresh food and best value.
Compare each medication among drugstores, big-box stores and Internet outlets. Save money on gas or shipping by buying a three-month medication supply instead of a one-month supply.
9. Eating Out
Enjoy early-bird specials and ask for a take-out box so you can enjoy the leftovers the next day.
If you’re a baby boomer, the trick to saving money is to simply say, “May I please have a senior discount?” (It’s a polite statement, not a question.) Saving money is like playing the lottery — you gotta be in it to win it. With a little practice you’ll have fun, and soon you’ll start trading tips with others.
For a wealth of baby boomer tips, check out the Philips Lifeline blog.